Open and responsive policy making in Croatia

The Croatian government launched a central e-consultation platform earlier this year as part of a move towards open government. Igor Vidačak, director of the Croatian Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs, writes on the impact of open policy making since the practice was standardised.

In the past six years the Croatian government has made substantial reforms to enable a more transparent decision making process in Croatia. The new e-consultation platform is a single access point to all open public consultations launched by state bodies and aims to bring our standards and practices of public consultations to the next level by being more accessible.

We started reforming our standards and practice of public consultation in 2009 with the adoption of the consultation code of practice that put the interest of the public in drafting new laws and other regulations at the heart of policy making. This was followed by a series of efforts to put the code in everyday practice across the Croatian government. This included:

  1. Appointing consultation coordinators in all public bodies
  2. Introducing regular and systematic training of civil servants with the State School for Public Administration
  3. Standardizing templates and practices of reporting on the results of public consultations
  4. Publishing annual reports on public consultations

This has allowed us to enable public and open monitoring of the performance of all government bodies, whilst also engraining more open forms of policy making across the Croatian government.

In 2011 the Croatian government had 48 public consultations. In 2014 we launched 544 public consultations on a wide variety of laws, 1033% more than three years earlier with 4000% more contributor to public consultations. Citizens and a variety of interest groups are showing growing interest in discussing draft policies and also expecting more feedback on the reasons for not accepting certain written proposals for amendments of draft legal acts.  We’re not only seeing more public interest but increasingly high expectations of the performance of government bodies.

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